~ ixöq co-founders ~

 contact us

Becky Smith

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Becky took her first trip to Guatemala in 1988 as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  Since that time, she has held a deep appreciation for the culture and people of the country as well as for the amazing textiles created by the local artisans. She also has a great eye for design. A few years ago she mentioned to Katie that one day they should start a business and work with artisans of Lake Atitlán to share and sell these beautiful products beyond the local markets. After many conversations, and a recognition of their shared commitment to work closely with the women and the organizations that support them, ixöq was born. 

In addition to the time she gives to ixöq as co-founder and chief advisor, Becky has over 30 years experience working with women and their families in both Latin America and the United States. She currently works full time as a Public Health Administrator in the local health department in Montgomery County Maryland, helping uninsured pregnant women and their children find needed health care. Through her work she meets women from all over the world, but she gets the most excited when one of her program participants is from Guatemala. 

 

Katie Leary Sebastian

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Katie has been traveling to Guatemala for over 15 years and one of her favorite places to be is Lake Atitlán. She and her family love it so much that they bought a house there, which they co-own and manage as a rental property with Becky and her family. Over time she's learned about different organizations working to help the people around the lake through artisenia programs. She saw the need for greater economic stability for the people of the lake and the value that the women, in particular, gain by learning from and working with these organizations. These groups desire to grow and expand their programs coincided with Katie and Becky's desire to partner with artisans. Together they created ixöq, a social enterprise that focuses on women's empowerment, fair trade, and sharing the culture and beauty created by artisans of the lake area. 

Before co-founding ixöq, Katie's focus was on international food security and poverty in developing nations. She used GIS to look at the intersection between agricultural practices, the environment, poverty and the population. From this work and her time in the Peace Corps in Senegal, she learned the value of gaining self sufficiency and being empowered to initiate change. She brings this experience plus her business and technical skills to ixöq where she is currently serving as executive director, web designer & business administrator. 

 
 

where we work in the states

7423 Baltimore Ave   (or a local coffee shop!)
Takoma Park, MD, 20912
United States

 

where we work in guatemala

Casa Pamakanya (and in several villages around the lake)
Jaibalito, Dept de Solola, Lago Atitlán
Guatemala

 
 
 

Contact us

 

We would love to hear from you with any questions you may have. Please email us at info@ixoqus.com or use this form. We promise to get back to you in a timely manner! 

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